On his way to the United Arab Emirates, Turkish President Abdullah Gul issued a series of statements on all of the moment’s hot topics.
Gul stated that Turkey’s doors are open if Hamas Chairperson Khaled Meshaal decides to settle there. Gul said, “Turkey is one of the strongest supporters of the Palestinian Cause and Hamas is an important political formation which won democratic elections. We’ve had relations with them since the beginning but the outcome of these relations remain unknown.”
Concerning whether Turkey would welcome Meshaal and his organization- currently located in Syria - Gul said, “This would depend on the circumstances. We don’t reject such a proposition outright. These are all things that are subject to consideration, and I haven’t yet received any pertinent information on the matter.”
Gul also denied that Turkey wanted the eruption of war in Syria. “Turkey has made every effort to bring about a transformation led by President [Bashar] al-Assad. We told [Assad] that one day he will be sorry and that then it will be [too little], too late. We have no hidden agenda. We’ve done everything without expecting anything in return,” he said.
“The issue does not only revolve on the person of the President. There also is also the issue of the Ba’ath Party’s regime and its structure. Syria’s path is now unavoidable, and the outcome of the conflict is clear no matter what foreign countries do. The important thing today is to not let the current situation linger for too long. Turkey does not support any outside intervention in Syria, but [we would be more willing to support it] were it led by regional powers. We therefore support the Arab League’s efforts and are remaining in contact with it.”
With regards to the Arab Spring, Gul said that Turkey has been asking since 2003 that doors in the Middle East be opened to democracy and justice, and so that bribery and corruption may be combatted. [He says that] dictators who conduct themselves in such a manner cannot remain in power.
“We either have to clean house ourselves, or we must open the door for foreign intervention, which, when it occurs, is akin to an elephant charging into a shop filled with glassware as it is oblivious to the culture of those countries in question. This is what occurred in Iraq. That is why we must rise to institute reforms ourselves. Two things have been occuring simultaneously: Popular uprisings and foreign interventions.”
While he commended the democratic changes witnessed by Tunisia, he also said that Egypt was on the right track. When asked when was the last time that an elected parliament was convened, he deferred to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. [Davutoglu said that] it might be the first time an elected parliament has convened [in Egypt] since Ottoman [times] where a parliament’s members were elected through elections held in all Ottoman territories. [Parliamentary elections in Ottoman times] included Yemen as well, and the grandfather of current Jordanian King Abdullah, was a member of [this Ottoman parliament].
Gul declared that relations between Turkey and Iran were good, as not a day has passed without a high ranking official from either country visiting the other. He clarified that both countries have been consulting each other constantly regarding the situation in Iraq. He also mentioned that France had lost its status and respect [in the region] because of the position it took on the Armenian issue.
During his three day visit to Dubai, Gul attended the United Arab Emirates-Turkey Business Forum, where he called for an increase in trade and direct investment with the Emirates. He contended that economic relations between the two countries had not yet achieved their full potential. He expected the volume of trade between them to double by the year 2015, doubling in value from five to ten billion dollars.